Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation

Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyEx-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Senate committee to hold hearing following FBI watchdog's report on Nassar case MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday torched Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDemocrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases Unsealed documents detail Trump and Biden efforts on reporter records MORE for his “attempt to undermine” a bipartisan drug sentencing reform bill. 

“Incensed by Sessions letter An attempt to undermine Grassley/Durbin/Lee BIPARTISAN criminal justice reforms This bill deserves thoughtful consideration b4 my cmte. AGs execute laws CONGRESS WRITES THEM!” Grassley tweeted.

In a letter sent to Grassley on Wednesday, Sessions wrote that legislation proposed by Grassley and Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (Ill.) would be a “grave error” and urged the Senate to reconsider the bill.

ADVERTISEMENT

The attorney general said the bill weakens the punishments for criminals and risks allowing the “very worst criminals” back into society by allowing judges to retroactively reduce sentences.

The legislation, reintroduced last year after previously failing in the Senate, would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders and end the mandatory three strikes rule that calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to life in prison.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBiden's misinformation crackdown spotlights partisan divide on content reform Lawmakers unveil measure increasing Congress's control of war authorizations GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation MORE (R-Utah) has also indicated support.

Grassley says the legislation would allow "nonviolent offenders with minimal criminal histories a better chance to become productive members of society."

Sessions, who has staked out his attorney general legacy as being tough on crime, argued the bill makes it easier for "serious drug traffickers" to re-enter society.

“The bill weakens penalties for repeat, serious drug traffickers, including those who used a gun and those with significant criminal histories, and would reduce the sentences of and potentially allow for the early release of many dangerous felons in prison now, including heroin traffickers, firearms felons, and those who are members of violent drug cartels and gangs like MS-13,” Session wrote.

“Passing this legislation to further reduce sentences for drug traffickers in the midst of the worst drug crisis in our nation’s history would make it more difficult to achieve our goals and have potentially dire consequences,” he said.